Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said in Geneva that the international community “must finally draw a clear distinction” between refugees and migrants as this would go far in solving “the migration crisis”.
Minister Szijjártó told a meeting of the executive committee of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) that the dual pressure Hungary is under from the east and south illustrates the need to distinguish clearly between refugees and migrants. The distinction is based on international law, which grants everyone the right to stay in the first safe country if forced to flee their country. However, they do not have the right to “cross a dozen safe countries” until they arrive in the location of their choosing, he said. Hungary has seen over one million refugees arrive from Ukraine since the war started, and has ensured equal access to health care and education to all, and is helping them to find jobs, he said. At the same time, the situation on the country’s southern border “is outrageous”, because those arriving there crossed several safe countries while violating international law, he said. “They also want to enter Hungary illegally, which is a crime,” he added. Last year, Hungary recorded 275,000 illegal attempts to cross the border, and 150,000 so far this year, he said. Further, some people smugglers and migrants, he said, were now armed with automatic weapons and had fired at border guards several times. “This cannot be tolerated; just like the statements of certain politicians that we should put up with it,” he said.
Migration waves are fuelled in Europe by measures that encourage people to leave their countries, boost the “business model” of people smugglers and force sovereign countries to give up their right to decide who they want to allow into the country, Szijjártó said. Instead, the focus should be on handling the root causes of migration and on creating the circumstances for people to stay in their homelands, he said. Mandatory redistribution quotas would turn the European Union into a “magnet” for migrants, he warned. “And we all know the consequences. Parallel societies emerge, the terror threat rises, and modern anti-Semitism is growing in the western half of Europe,” he said. Szijjártó said that whereas all refugees deserved help — “just as Hungary does as a first safe country” — migrants must be stopped.